A Little Perspective… Lessons from my Broken Computer in Bali

Last updated on November 14, 2021

Frangipani arrangement—a Balinese favorite flower.

About time I posted an update from Bali! I actually broke my laptop my first day in here—and by first day I mean within hours of landing in Bali after 36 hours flying from US my laptop simply would not turn on—so with some initial tears and “holy crap, I’m screwed” thoughts rolling through my head I was forced to hunt down a local computer repair center recommended by the locals (details at the bottom).

Telephone Conversation with my Computer Technicians

I’m going to jump right into my side of a telephone conversation I had on day two with the technicians fixing my broken laptop—I thought it was an absolute hoot—it’s only my side of the conversation because the other half was in Indonesian … and I don’t speak Indonesian … yet.

– Yes, hello? Hi, English please?

– Do you speak English?

– Um, the person who speaks English please. (side note: I left my computer with a technician fluent in English)

– Could you please get the person who speaks English?

Tons of animated voices and at least six people laughing really hard on the other line.

– Oh ok. No one English?

– My computer, you have, broken yes?

– Laptop fix, yes?

– Yesterday-there-were several-people-who-spoke-English-and-they-told-me-to-call-today-so-I-was-really-hoping-that-you-could-let-me-know-if-my-computer-was-broken-or-if-you-were-able-to-fix-it?

Guffaws. Flat out belly laughing and the same amount of rapid Indonesian spit right back at me. In fact, they were laughing so hard I could all but hear the droplets of tears forming at the edges of their eyes.

– Hmm…Dell yesterday. English person. You fix?

– Ok Yes! DELL! Me Dell! Yay, you remember. Fix, yes?

– Fix? Good? All better?

– Turns on?

– Works now?

– Good or Bad?

– I come and pick up?

– Um, ok, thanks, guess I’ll see you tomorrow!

So why is this so funny … because I hung up not knowing anything knew about my laptop but man were they cracking up on the other side of the phone. I guess it would be like picking up the phone and only hearing someone jabbering gibberish on the other side of the line!

My Takeaways from Fixing My Laptop in Bali

beer bintang bali

Relax Sans Technology

With my laptop in the shop for at least two days I truly had no choice but to sit back and relax with my book and a cold beer. It was actually an entirely different experience to not process my day through technology by sorting pictures, writing a blog, and working.


Best piece of advice I got was “hey, at least you still have pen and paper!” Simplistic, but you know, it hadn’t even occurred to me. Because 75 percent of what I do is internet based, I just plum forgot that I could still jot down ideas and be a bit productive without my IV-line of technology pumping into my system.


Time is elastic in Bali … and pretty much most places outside of the West. This is one of those patience building lessons—if they say to come pick it up in two days … that really meant three.

Negotiate, It’s a Fact of Life

The price I paid was seven times what we agreed. What to do? Negotiate. Since I don’t know what they added to the computer I just paid, but I went into this knowing that as a foreigner I was never going to get the cheapest price.

Learn Some Language!

Maybe the most important was learning just five phrases in Indonesian. In Bali, a smile goes a long way and an attempt at the language can only help, so by the third day, when I went to pick up my laptop I went in knowing just a few words that made all the difference: “good,” “bad” and “thank you very much.”  From just those three phrases I pieced together that one of my boards was jelek, or rather bad.

Just Accept and Move On

I really have barely any idea what they did to fix my laptop. And I probably never will. They couldn’t tell me and the English speaking technician never showed back up on the scene. But it works now. Yes, I want to know. It’s frustrating that I don’t know what beyond my “board” was jelek but oh well. What can I do but accept and move on?

I got my computer back completely working yesterday so expect a more some more regular updates as I explore Ubud, Bali … my home for the next few months!

Quick Tips: Computer Repair in Denpasar, Bali

Where to Get Your Computer Fixed

Cyberlink Computer on the fourth floor of the Rimo Computer Center in Denpasar, Bali

How to Get There

Tell your driver Rimo in front of the Ramayana shopping mall.

Tips for Getting a Repair

Check your receipt and make sure each piece/part you hand them is itemized out and labeled so that you get it back!

18 thoughts on “A Little Perspective… Lessons from my Broken Computer in Bali”

  1. Ohhh, this post cracked me up!! :-) I'm so glad it ended well for you. :-) I remember being in Portugal and trying to get internet set up in our apartment with no English between us. Heavens! Somehow it worked out though. :-)

    • Glad that you got it figured out in Portugal – I found that unless I was
      just willing to keep a smile on my face and a sense of humor that it could
      have turned incredibly frustrating really fast! :-)

  2. Those are some great points! I still would be miserable if my laptop died. It's awesome that they were able to fix it!!!

    • I was freaked out for sure…but this is the second time that they have
      managed to fix it – it broke last year in Thailand and they fixed it for me
      also within hours and for about 50 bucks! Actually probably better that it
      broke over here than at home..who knows how much it would have cost to fix
      in the US :-)

  3. Sounds like you stayed calm and got it fixed right a way, which is way better than anything that I would do. I think I would freak out and crawl into a fetal position. But, Bali will change your mood on many things :)

    • The fetal position popped into my head but I was a ball of nervous crazy
      energy there for a few hours while I hunted down the repair shop! The energy
      here in Ubud is pretty wild by the way!

  4. Perhaps this means that the worst of your Bali experience is over now and it will be smooth sailing from now on out! Your computer works, you probably got some reading done and you're a few words richer. Good luck settling in and enjoying yourself on and offline.

    • I did get in some good reading and learning those handful of words sets me
      on my way, I hope to pick up a bit of Indonesian while I'm here! :-)

  5. That's not a bad first week…in the end you have your computer fixed and you learned some quick lessons. Could have been much worse!

    And is that your book and beer in the photo? Three Cups of Tea is such an excellent read!

    • It really could have been worse – I was preparing myself to go buy a whole
      new one! As for the book – yep! I am about three quarters of the way through
      it right now, due to be finished in the next day or two – really enjoying it

  6. Bummer about the Computer. Hope it didn't cost you too much. It sucks when it just won't turn on. We had that happend the day after we got back from Nepal and had to fly to France. We were told it was a $1400 fix here in Canada so we ended up buying a new one. When we got home, we took it across the border to Buffalo and had it fixed in a week for $300 buck! Now we have 3 laptops and we are much poorer. But hey at least we have a back up now!
    It is great to have the opportunity to unplug and I am glad you enjoyed it even though you were probably stressed about the computer. Way to go!

    • It was actually pretty cheap to fix, but it can be such a panic moment when
      the laptop breaks! The timing of yours breaking was just terrible, but it
      could really come in handy to have that third…or do you have a niece or
      nephew to pass it down to? That's who always gets my cast off laptops!

  7. “Best piece of advice I got was “hey, at least you still have pen and paper!” Simplistic, but you know, it hadn’t even occurred to me.”

    You're telling Noah about the Flood. Felt the same way myself when mine crapped out in Russia (and also had a bit of a problem getting English speakers there). Funny that I'd almost forgotten how to function without one.

    • Yikes – it crapped out in Russia! From what I hear there really just isn't a
      lot of English spoken there! It's strange to see just how much we fully rely
      on these hunks of plastic and metal…and on the road it made me feel a lot
      more cut off from others without it!

  8. I'm glad you were able to get your laptop fixed! I know I would have been freaking out. How is Bali? I'm down to about 11 days here in Canada and it's slowly killing me. LOL

    • Thanks Pam! Bali is not at all what I expected..but then again I didn't do a
      lot of research a head of time – but that being said, so far it's great –
      more expensive than I hoped, but I am loving it so far & will be doubly fun
      when you come to visit!


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